March 24, 2023

Super Bowl 57: Kansas City Chiefs fight back to beat Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 in thriller

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Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes celebrate winning their second Super Bowl together

By Ben Collins BBC Sport in Phoenix, Arizona

Seen as slight underdogs for Super Bowl 57, the Chiefs trailed for much of the game in Phoenix and were 27-21 down heading into the final quarter.

But despite limping after aggravating an ankle injury, quarterback Patrick Mahomes and veteran coach Andy Reid orchestrated a route back in front of 67,827 fans in the State Farm Stadium. 

Mahomes, who was named the season’s Most Valuable Player for a second time last week, made touchdown passes to Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore to put Kansas City in front for the first time.

The Eagles levelled after a record-breaking third rushing touchdown by Jalen Hurts, followed by a two-point conversion by the third-year quarterback.

But a heroic 26-yard run by Mahomes made the ground for Harrison Butker to kick a game-winning field goal from 27 yards with eight seconds remaining.

Mahomes’ performance saw the 27-year-old become the first player since 1999 to win the season MVP, the Super Bowl and the Super Bowl MVP in the same season.

He has led the Chiefs to at least the AFC Championship game in all five seasons as a starter and many argued that, for the Reid-Mahomes era to be considered a dynasty, they had to win another Super Bowl.

“I am not going to say a dynasty yet, we are not done,” said Mahomes.

“I told you nothing was going to keep me off the field. I want to thank my team-mates – we challenged each other and it took everybody.”

On Reid, who coached Philly for 14 years before taking over at Kansas City in 2013, Mahomes added: “He’s one of the greatest coaches of all time. I think everybody knew that, but these last two Super Bowls kind of cemented that.

“To have someone that is such a great person who gets the best out of the players, you wanted to win those Super Bowls for him. It’s great that we did that.”

Reid, 64, said of Mahomes: “He wants to be the greatest player ever and that’s the way he goes about his business. And he does it humbly, there’s no bragging.

“The great quarterbacks make everybody around him better, including the head coach. So he’s done a heck of a job.”

It was both a historic and rare Super Bowl as the NFL’s showcase event came to Arizona’s state capital for a fourth time.

It was the first Super Bowl to feature two black quarterbacks and the first to feature brothers on opposing teams, namely Travis Kelce and his older brother Jason, the Eagles centre.

And it was rare because it featured the season’s best two teams and the best two players – Mahomes and Hurts, who traded blows in an epic.

It was the first time that the top seed in each Conference has reached the Super Bowl since 2018 – when the Eagles beat the New England Patriots 41-33 for their only previous Super Bowl win.

This is the highest-scoring Super Bowl since then but probably edged it for drama, with each team showing why they were so dominant during the regular season, both finishing with a 14-3 record.

Now Super Bowl 57 will be remembered for being much more than the ‘Kelce Bowl’, it is the game where the Chiefs delivered on their promise.

“It solidifies your greatness,” said Travis Kelce. “You didn’t get lucky once, it wasn’t beginners’ luck

“You can call it a dynasty – you can call it whatever you want. All I know is we’re coming back next year and our heart and mindset is on trying to get another.

“We were uncharacteristic in the beginning [of the game] but everyone had that look in their eye that they would leave it all out there on the field and that is what we did.”

Mahomes and Hurts trade blows in epic

It promised to be a shootout from the first quarter, as neither defence managed to stop their opposition doing the same as they have been doing all season.

Hurts already had the single-season record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback and three more on Sunday extended it to 18.

The first capped the game’s opening drive, and the Chiefs replied with Mahomes finding Travis Kelce in the corner for the tight end’s career-best 16th touchdown of the season.

However, there were ominous signs for Kansas City in the second quarter, despite cancelling out Hurts’ 45-yard touchdown pass to AJ Brown as Nick Bolton returned a Hurts fumble for a defensive touchdown.

The Eagles starved the Chiefs of possession, Mahomes began limping heavily, Hurts punched in his second touchdown and Jake Elliott kicked a field goal to make it 24-14 at half-time.

The extended break for Rihanna’s half-time show gave Kansas City more time to treat Mahomes’ ankle and regroup, and whatever was said did the trick as they came out and put together a 10-play drive capped by a Isiah Pacheco score.

They thought they had snatched the lead moments later with another defensive touchdown by Bolton, only for the play to be reversed, and another Eagles field goal made it 27-21.

But two touchdowns in quick succession, both from well-designed passing plays from the Reid playbook that flummoxed the Philly defence, swung the game in Kansas City’s favour.

Hurts kept the Eagles in it but Mahomes’ scramble up the middle allowed the Chiefs to manage the clock before making the decisive score with just seconds left. 

The best Super Bowl stats

  • This is the first Super Bowl in which both teams scored at least 35 points
  • Hurts became the first quarterback to rush for three touchdowns in a Super Bowl
  • Hurts also set a Super Bowl record for rushing yards by a QB – 70
  • Facing the team with the second most sacks in a single season in NFL history, the Chiefs’ offensive line didn’t allow Mahomes to be sacked once
  • Mahomes became the 13th quarterback to win multiple Super Bowls
  • Mahomes is the first player from the top four professional sports in the US to win multiple MVPs and multiple championship MVPs within 2000 days of his debut (1869)
  • Reid became the 15th coach to win multiple Super Bowls
  • Reid is the first head coach/manager in the top four professional sports in the US to win multiple championships after winning none over his first 20 seasons

For more on this story and images go to BBC

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